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Home » FASHIONISTA NOW » Fashionista NOW: A Brief History Of Sportswear In The Fashion Industry

Fashionista NOW: A Brief History Of Sportswear In The Fashion Industry

Credit | Crystii Lin

Fashion is known for how it draws ideas from parts of popular culture and makes new trends from them. Learn a short history of sportswear in the fashion industry.

The fashion industry is well known for the way it takes influences and ideas from other parts of popular culture and makes new trends from them.

The worlds of music and film have provided many concepts and styles over the years, but today perhaps one of the most important areas of influence in both haute couture and the high street comes from sports stars and sportswear brands.

It is a two way connection as well because sportswear retailers need to be up to date and fashion conscious in an increasingly competitive marketplace, so products are often functional and also fashionable at the same time.

| Leo Chan

Years Of Crossover

Although some of the most famous sporting brands of today may only seem to have been around for a relatively short time, in fact, the crossover between fashion and sport can be traced back at least a hundred years.

| Frank Lin

Fred Perry is now more thought of as a fashion concept rather than having its roots in any particular sport, but the iconic designs actually came about, of course, through the former world number one championship-winning English tennis player’s design partnership with Austrian soccer player Tibby Wegner.

Sporting Heroes

From the 1960s onwards, track and field athletics events began to take hold of public awareness. In fact, the entire footwear industry has changed beyond recognition in the past 50 years due to the popularity of what have variously been called sports shoes, sneakers, plimsolls, and trainers.

High-profile sporting heroes from almost any discipline can have a major impact on how a particular look or time can cross over into the world of fashion. The massive increase in global popularity of soccer throughout the 1990s meant that wearing your favorite team’s shirt wasn’t complete without having the name and number of a player printed on the back, just like the real thing.

Two-Way Street

Of course, it isn’t just sports style that influences fashion; the reverse is true too. Stella McCartney is just one of the many high-profile fashion designers that have been heavily involved in designing sportswear. She has not only created the look of her national athletics team, Team GB, but she also oversaw the development of every aspect of the high-performance kit.

The recuperative and restorative powers of sportswear that can help people recover from injury also play an important part in the crossover. Compression wear can play a role in getting over various injuries and ailments, and it is possible to find out more about these garments, such as compression pants, online.

Future Styles

With the ever increasing popularity of a range of sports such as cycling where function and fashion play equal roles, there is no end to the possibilities of future crossovers between the two worlds.

As more top-end designers lend their talents to sporting events and new players emerge in the world of fashion, the way that sportswear crosses over into daily life is certain to grow even bigger.


Luke Sloane is a freelance writer specializing in classic and vintage fashion. Here he offers an insight into the history of sportswear within the fashion industry.

“I wear sports clothes because I feel comfortable in them.”Alexander Wang

© All images are copyrighted by their respective authors.

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